The Rapport newspaper has revealed confidential matric results numbers which the government tried to hide from the public.
On 4 January, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announced that the matric pass rate for 2016 was 72.5%, up from 70.7% in 2015.
The increased pass rate was celebrated by Motshekga, but this does not tell the full story.
Rapport highlighted that the average mark per subject was absent from the matric results.
According to the newspaper, the marks achieved by the 2016 matric candidates are a “state secret”, and were only shared with selected parties.
The newspaper gained access to the information, which revealed a dismal performance in many subjects.
- The average mark for Mathematics was 30.8%.
- The average mark for Mathematics Literacy was 37%.
- The average mark for Accounting was 38%.
- The average mark for Geography was 39%.
- The average mark for History was 44%.
Big grade 10 to grade 12 dropout rate
A recent analysis by the DA’s shadow minister for basic education Gavin Davis shows that the “dropout rate” of pupils between grade 10 and matric is over 50% in multiple provinces.
This figure is often ignored when the matric results are announced by the Department of Education, and Davis speculates that learners may have been “culled to inflate the matric pass rate”.
“1,100,877 learners enrolled for grade 10 in 2014, but only 610,178 enrolled for grade 12 in 2016. This means that 44.6% of learners either dropped out of the system or remain stuck in grade 10 and 11,” said Davis.
Provinces with the highest “dropout rate” were:
- Northern Cape – 54.4%
- North West – 52.7%
- Free State – 51.6%
“It is possible to see from these figures how a fixation on the pass rate can mask the actual performance of the education system.”
“This is because the pass rate… doesn’t take into consideration the learners who didn’t make it to matric.”
Davis said it is possible for a school to “push up their pass rate simply by ensuring that fewer weaker learners write the matric exams”.
If the number of students who entered grade 10 in 2014 are taken into account when calculating the matric pass rate for 2016, the pass rate falls below 40% for many provinces.